Back to Homeschool Lunch Ideas

Have I ever told you how much I dislike lunch?

I’ve decided that lunch is the homeschool mom’s nemesis, the required interruption in an otherwise orderly and organized day. 😉 I’ve often said I wish we could skip lunch, but I have a few children who would object.

For most of my kids, lunch is not the end of their homeschool day. Lunch is the midpoint, so if I fill them up with carbs and sugar they aren’t able to learn from 1-3pm. Since I usually make a hot breakfast and dinner I don’t really want or have time to make a hot lunch, even though I know it would probably be the cheapest option for my family.

I’m always looking for healthy, quick, and simple lunches that don’t cause too much of an interruption in our homeschool day. Here are a few lunch ideas for the homeschool families, or anyone who is feeding a crowd for lunch.

The Lunch List

Last summer I started using the lunch list. This is a list of available lunch options for my children. This list can be posted on or close to the fridge or pantry. This list allows the kids to pick what they want for lunch within limits.

The list removes all questions about whether a piece of cheesecake or cookie is a lunch option.

Make Ahead Ingredients

Another idea for quick and inexpensive lunches is to keep precooked food in the fridge that can be reheated or made into a meal in a few minutes. A few of our staples are:

Taco meat

  • Taco Salad
  • Tacos
  • Tostadas
  • Burritos

Crock pot shredded beef

  • Sandwiches
  • Burritos
  • Steak Salad

Whole cooked chicken

  • Chicken pasta
  • Chicken salad
  • Burritos
  • Chicken and rice
  • Chicken tacos

Cooked beans

  • Beans and rice
  • Bean burritos
  • Beans and cheese
  • Black bean soup
  • Open tacos

Weekend Prep

Along with keeping ready to go meat in the fridge, cutting up fruit and vegetables on the weekend can make for a quick and healthy addition to lunches. Only with fruits and vegetables, cooked pasta, rice, and the foods I mentioned above can help you bring lunches together in under ten minutes. Spending an hour on the weekend prepping for lunches will save time and you’ll have less dishes!

You can also check out the Feast in 15 cookbook. I think it is only $4.99 and it is filled with great tips for making meals in less than 15 minutes! It was designed for dinners but it would work for lunches too!

Double Your Dinner

This is similar to freezer cooking except instead of freezing the meal you keep it in the fridge for the next day. It doesn’t take too much work to make a double meal, so if you are making something inexpensive just double the recipe and serve it for lunch.

If you don’t like eating the same thing two days in a row just wait a day or two before serving it.

Crock Pot Lunches

Many crock pot recipes take only 4-6 hours to cook. If you are an early riser you can start lunch in the crock pot before you start your school day. By the time lunch rolls around you’ll have a delicious meal that is ready to eat.


Soups are inexpensive and can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge. I have a few children who prefer to eat soup every day. You can even freeze soup in individual portions which is very convenient. Our favorite soup recipes are:


You don’t have to get fancy with lunches, especially when your children are younger and don’t eat as much as teenage boys. When I was growing up I had a peanut butter sandwich and an apple every single day. It was easy and it didn’t take any time to prepare.

Some of our favorite simple lunches are:

What do you serve for lunch on a homeschool day?

For more lunch ideas including lunch box, gluten free, and preschool lunches visit my back to school lunch partners.


  1. Jennifer Maassen says:

    What a great post! My kids have been in charge of their own breakfast and lunches since they were little, and that has worked out fine for us, but admittedly, there are only three of them. If there were more, we might have to make a more coordinated effort. These are terrific ideas and recipes. Thank you!

  2. Hi there,
    I love your idea about this! Our upcoming daily schedule calls for the “schooling” to be done around noon. Usually, we wonder what to get for lunch. We created a 4 week meal plan that is primarily just for supper time. I’ve never even thought of making a lunch options list or planning lunches before. I love this and will most likely start doing this for our home. I also love that our whole family can benefit from this because we work from home as well and we live with my husband’s parents. So, THANK YOU!!! This is exactly why I love this blog. So many great ideas that inspire me to be the best homemaker I was called to be. God bless all that you do and keep up the great work!

  3. We just started homeschooloing this week and I hate the what’s for lunch question! Thanks for sharing!

  4. One of our simple lunches that we make quite a bit. In fact I made it today!
    Is a pan fried corn tortilla topped with a fried egg and some grated cheese.
    We have chickens so eggs are plentiful! Add some salsa and fruit on the side and it is an excellent easy lunch.

  5. I often used to make my homeschooled children a packed lunch the night before and we would eat that and carry on schooling. Most of the time (packed lunch or not) I would read to them while they were eating. To be honest, with 3 hyperactive boys, it was often the only time they were sitting stil!

  6. Sounds like a cooking class is in order. You can include math ( measuring, counting things out, sizes doubling a recipe or 1/2 ing a recipe), reading ( the recipes) writing ( if the children like the recipe they copy it into there own personal recipe book * special keepsake and precious reminder of their writing improvement over the years) (mom make sure to see that the recipe is written correctly) science ( how the food grows or is made, the chemical reaction of the different ingredients social studies ( what part of the country or world the food comes from how is is transported). Enjoy and have fun!

  7. Ugh! I so agree about lunch being my nemesis. It seems like most days just when I get on a roll and everyone is diligently working on their lessons I start hearing, “I’m hungry! What’s for lunch?” Thanks for the great ideas!

  8. Hi,
    Great article, and beautiful pics of the kids!!! But have you ever looked into Once a Month Cooking, My time is like gold, and I can only imagine with kids it’s tough. And by looking at Janell Poulette comment, I know I’m correct. Stop by crockpotking, and go to the home page I have something there that I know wil help you, Janell, Jennifer & Tanya out as well.
    But know getting back to the article. BRAVO!!! Keep it coming, lI remember when my mother used to struggle with us. And it’s not easy, But whatever content you happen to throw out there, I know would help. Even if it’s one person, it’s well worth it!

    I’ve already bookmarked your post.

  9. Dear Happy,
    I really admire you for doing a hot breakfast. I have four little kids 5 and under and I just cant get myself organized to do a hot breakfast and dinner half the time.. I was wondering in you could offer any suggestions. I’m starting homeschooling this I’m stressed with that and I know I will have even less time. Also, I like to cook, but I hate the mess and I don’t have hours to clean up, can you offer any timesaving tips. Thanks so much,

    P.S. You should do a Dear Happy section on your blog..that would be awesome!

  10. This is such a great post. I hate lunches! Breakfast is easy and dinner is prepared in my mind ahead of time, but when it comes to lunches I just don’t get it! I love the idea (which is very obvious) of doubling up the dinner to have left-overs. Why didn’t I ever think of this?! Thank you for posting. I am glad I found your site and really appreciate these time-saving tips for us busy moms.

  11. These are some great ideas! Thanks for sharing!!

  12. What a great list – I am going to see how we can integrate some of these into our plans 🙂 We usually eat sandwiches or leftovers from earlier in the week because I agree – stopping to cook in the middle of an otherwise productive day seems to halt all progress. We fix something quick and then listen to an audiobook together or watch and educational show. 🙂

    Recent Post: Homeschool Online Resrouces for Games & Printouts

  13. Just found this page through Pinterest when searching for easy lunches. As a home schooler, I can totally relate to your lunch woes. But, thanks to you, I now feel empowered to tackle it head on starting tomorrow!! 🙂 I’ll definitely be re-pinning.

  14. I have to agree, that as a homeschool mom, I hate lunchtime, too. Really. That’s why I’m here – to get ideas! Thanks!

  15. Thank you! I am officially starting homeschooling our soon-to-be 5 year old in September (though we’ve already been doing pre-school homeschool). I have a 9 month old and 2 year old as well. I need lunch ideas like this already! I’m hoping to get them involved in making lunch with me…we’ll see. They did enjoy making chocolate covered strawberries with me though! Not exactly a lunch item, but it was really fun!

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